God's will in non-ideal circumstances?
Week 25: 22/06/2023. Thu
We frequently hoped for ideal circumstances before embarking on that very thing we always wanted to do. But ideal circumstances that checked all our wish-lists frequently evade many of us. What to do?
Nehemiah's request to go back to ancestral home to rebuild city walls risked to be interpreted as rebellion by king Artaxerxes. But thankfully, Nehemiah's requested framing Jerusalem as the location of ancestral graves found favour with the king and the queen also (sitting beside him).
Nehemiah 2:6 And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. (ESV)
But king Artaxerxes two questions, even though tacitly approving Nehemiah's request, contained one obvious challenge—"when will you return?" This meant that Nehemiah's release was NOT forever, only temporary. Nehemiah might have been a favourite cupbearer for Artaxerxes, and he did not want to lose Nehemiah forever. Therefore, Nehemiah probably only had a short "leave of absence" from duty.
Would you take up that offer, though not ideal? It was not ideal because (1) Nehemiah did NOT obtain complete freedom from exile or captivity. (2) In addition, Nehemiah would NOT enjoy the fruit of his labour in Jerusalem for long—he had to leave the result of his upcoming work to OTHERS. (3) He had to make a long return trip too!
Pros and cons? Even though there were many non-ideal cons, there were many pros—in fact, Nehemiah had EVERYTHING that was required for him to accomplish God's will for him, at that moment in history, at the location designated by God.
God frequently operates in less than ideal circumstances, challenging circumstances, even painful ones for His servants to accomplish His will. We grab those opportunities to serve and give thanks because of His will, which is more important than attempting to manoeuvre ourselves into "ideal situations" before doing anything useful.